Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's only just begun

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard with some hard-hitting reality in the Telegraph today.

In Poland, 60pc of mortgages are in Swiss francs. The zloty has just halved against the franc. Hungary, the Balkans, the Baltics, and Ukraine are all suffering variants of this story. As an act of collective folly – by lenders and borrowers – it matches America's sub-prime debacle. There is a crucial difference, however. European banks are on the hook for both. US banks are not.

It's this sort of thing which leads me to believe that a global depression is not only possible, it is almost inevitable. And the only thing, in my opinion is to get out of the globalised mess our leaders have got us into and start looking after our own interests - and the place to start is withdrawal from the EU.

EU member states are up to their neck in bad debt - both with each other and in other regions - once one tumbles we are going to see a domino effect as they bring down others.

[The IMF] $16bn rescue of Ukraine has unravelled. The country – facing a 12pc contraction in GDP after the collapse of steel prices – is hurtling towards default, leaving Unicredit, Raffeisen and ING in the lurch. Pakistan wants another $7.6bn. Latvia's central bank governor has declared his economy "clinically dead" after it shrank 10.5pc in the fourth quarter. Protesters have smashed the treasury and stormed parliament.

Europe is on the brink once more - and once more it is Europe which is going to suffer more than most. The USA has the capacity to sort itself out - though not necessarily the leadership at the moment - the EU does not.

It's going to get messy, folks.


TheFatBigot said...

The failure of the British press to highlight what has happened in Latvia is quite bizarre. It is a classic example of being too dependent on other countries who, of course, will look to their own interests first when times get tough.

Mark said...

AE-P is brilliant at putting a bearish, eurosceptic slant on economic news- even if at times he's a bit selective about the stats he quotes.
What I found interesting this week was the FT's Wolfgang Munchau (about as pro Euro as you can get)expressing doubts for the first time about the stability & composition of the Euro Zone. Take that in conjunction with AE-P's hard hitting article, and the news that the Irish are thinking of bringing their 2nd referendum forward to June....perhaps we are indeed 'on the brink'.